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Even with Miss U loss, Rabiya Mateo continues longest placement streak in PH pageant history

By CHUCK SMITH Published May 17, 2021 5:25 pm

While Pinoy pageant fans are still mourning Rabiya Mateo’s loss at the recently-concluded 69th Miss Universe pageant, there is a bit of a silver lining to the performance of the 24-year-old beauty from Iloilo City.

With Rabiya making it to the Top 21 of the 69th Miss Universe, she managed to continue the Philippines’ years-long streak of placing in the pageant’s semi-finals.

That streak is now 11 consecutive years, from 2010 to 2021 (there was no Miss Universe pageant in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

This is also the longest placement streak ever in Philippine beauty pageant history and has produced two Miss Universe winners, several runners-up, as well as a number of top-6, top-10, and top-20 finishers.

The Miss Universe streak started with Venus Raj, who was named fourth runner-up at the 50th Miss Universe in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Before Venus, the Philippines had not placed at the Miss Universe pageant since 1998, when Miriam Quiambao was named first runner-up (although a couple of the country’s delegates did win the now-defunct Photogenic award).

Venus Raj, Miss Philippines 2010, competes in her Dar Be Dar swimsuit during the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant swimsuit competition at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday, August 23, 2010. Photo by Miss Universe Organization/Darren Decker

The Philippines’ streak was continued by Shamcey Supsup (2011, 3rd runner-up), Janine Tugonon (2012, 1st runner-up), Ariella Arida (2013, 3rd runner-up), and Maru Jean Lastimosa (2014, Top 10).

And Filipinos will never forget Pia Wurtzbach winning the Miss Universe pageant in 2015.

Maxine Medine entered the Top 6 in 2016, and Rachel Peters made it to the Top 10 in 2017.

Catriona Gray gave the Philippines’ its second Miss Universe crown in four years in 2018.

Gazini Ganados, the last delegate to be sent to the Miss Universe pageant by the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc, entered the Top 20, but failed to move forward in the competition.

As it is, Gazini and Rabiya’s Top 20/21 finishes are the lowest the Philippines has had in 11 years. But it is still a noteworthy achievement at the pageant that’s considered to be the world’s most prestigious.

Rabiya Mateo, Miss Universe Philippines 2020, backstage during the National Costume Show at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida on May 13, 2021. Photo by Miss Universe Organization/Tracy Nguyen

In terms of the longest streak of making it to the Miss Universe semi-finals, the Philippines is beaten by the US, with 22 placements from 1977 to 1998, 18 placements from 1958 to 1975, and 10 placements from 2011 to the present.

Venezuela has a 21-year streak of placements from 1983 to 2003.

With Rabiya’s Top 21 finish, the Philippines is now tied with India, which also has an 11-year placement streak from 1992 to 2002.

Obviously, the candidate succeeding Rabiya to represent the Philippines at the 70th Miss Universe will have a tough job ahead of her to continue the country’s good performance in the pageant.

Banner photo by Miss Universe Organization/Benjamin Askinas